Your solicitor is recommending it, they say it is required to assist your litigation, but what is Electronic Disclosure?
Electronic disclosure (more commonly known as eDisclosure) is the ‘disclosure’ of electronically stored information (ESI). It involves the efficient management of ESI within litigation and is a specific term used in the Civil Procedure Rules of England and Wales. Due to the exponential volume of data held in electronic format, eDisclosure is a vital stage in a dispute. The electronic data is searched, identified and preserved for the purpose of using it as admissible evidence in a civil matter.
Examples of Electronically Stored Information (ESI)
Including: DVDs / Voicemails / Deleted Data / Spreadsheets / Calendar Files / Emails or SMS / Archived Data / Cloud Storage/ Video or Audio Files / Social Media Accounts / Flash Drives & Hard Drives / Mobile Phones & Computers
The preservation of data is critical when electronic disclosure is required. Forensic imaging (generating an exact forensic copy) of computers and associated media should be considered in all cases where further investigation may be required. Capturing this data using a forensically sound methodology is vital if the integrity of a subsequent investigation is to be maintained.
Why do you need Electronic Disclosure?
Lawyers can perform a manual review of all the relevant documentation to your case as well as create a manual disclosure list. However, this is nowhere near as efficient and billable time would be wasted doing a time-consuming and costly exercise. By instructing an eDisclosure expert to perform the entire process, all these mundane activities would be collated into an efficient and precise automated review process.
Electronic Disclosure Questionnaire (EDQ)
A crucial element within an eDisclosure case is the Electronic Disclosure Questionnaire (EDQ). An EDQ is a series of questions about what ESI you have, where it is and how it is proposed to be disclosed. It also focuses on how the ESI in the control of your opponent might best be managed. Successfully completing an EDQ early on in the project can reduce costs and offer a tactical advantage, leading to greater influence over the terms of disclosure within a case.
Online Review Platforms
Online document review platforms are powerful and indispensable tools in the eDisclosure process. They allow for the effective management of vast amounts of electronically stored information (ESI) in commercial litigation, dispute resolution and investigations. With a full range of advanced features, including data analytics and search technology, these platforms can quickly identify the exact information you’re looking for, drastically reducing time and costs.
What Features are Involved?
There are a variety of secure methods by which data (as described in the ESI list) can be forensically collected. These include direct onsite collection by a forensic investigator, secure courier collection, or remote download using secure and bespoke forensic software.
The power of the software allows for electronic documentation to be de-duplicated across an entire dataset. This removes exact copies of documents leaving only one instance, reducing review time and overall costs.
The advantage of identifying effective keywords early in the process, allows you to extract responsive documents from your dataset. Using keyword searches filters out the irrelevant documents giving you a responsive dataset to review. The data can then be refined further by adding filters to dates and file types.
Specific date ranges can be applied to a set of data, to enable the precise identification of required information within an exact date range. This quickly points you to the documents created at the time you are investigating.
Utilising our review tools, we have the ability to apply filters to documents based on specific conditions i.e. File Type, Date, Recipient, Original folder path etc. By applying filters, your data set can be reduced by a substantial amount, returning only the documents you are interested in. We can also apply multiple filters to a single data set, for example filtering the data for only documents created in 2018 and for word documents only.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
It is extremely common that litigations will not only involve electronic data but hard copy documents. We provide a service whereby hard copy documents are scanned, converted into PDF documents, and then processed into an online review platform. We can then run OCR across the documents, giving you the ability to run keyword searches over the scanned documents.
Once a document review is complete, the relevant documents are exported out of the review platform in compliance with both the opposing parties’ exchange policy and the Civil Procedure Rules 31b. Our project managers will liaise with the other side’s service provider at the early stages of the review to ensure that we have everything in place to export the disclosure in the format that is required (this can vary between service providers).
We can apply advanced analytical features to your dataset, which can assist in identifying the data you are looking for quickly and more efficiently. Email threading removes single instances of emails that already appear within email threads, reducing the size of your data set. Textual near duplication identifies instances of exact duplicate information or similar documents, which can be beneficial, especially when a ‘hot’ document is identified. Clustering looks into the concepts discussed within a specified dataset. This can help give an understanding of what kind of documents you are looking at and the overview of the discussions taking place.
Concluding eDisclosure benefits
Our project managers can discuss with you at the early stages of your review what your requirements are. They can then advise on the most beneficial features, applicable to your electronic disclosure.
- Increased accuracy
- More efficient
- Automated processes
- Dedicated software
- More manageable when dealing with large datasets
- The utilisation of the software intelligence
Who are CYFOR Legal?
As a leading eDisclosure provider, CYFOR Legal combines industry-recognised digital forensics expertise with end-to-end eDisclosure services and technology. This offers a full breadth of complete electronic disclosure services to support law firms, corporate entities and government agencies in litigation, dispute resolution, investigations and regulatory disputes. We are experts in handling clients’ data and are focused on understanding the challenges they face when undertaking disclosure. CYFOR Legal is dedicated to identifying the correct technologies and processes within our extensive portfolio to address specific challenges.
These innovative solutions are built around a flexible, scalable and defensible framework based upon efficient workflows articulated in the industry-recognised Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) to meet electronic disclosure requirements. Our multi-disciplinary team includes eDisclosure specialists, eDiscovery project managers, digital forensic specialists and database administrators. This broad experience ensures that a bespoke skillset is incorporated into the strategic management of every instruction.
Discover our complete eDiscovery Sectors & Solutions suite here.